Porec, Croatia, June 27, 2017 - It will be a birthday to remember for Maciej Rudol as he celebrated his 24th birthday here Tuesday with Polish partner Jakub Szalankiewicz by winning two men’s qualifying matches to advance to the Main Draw at this week’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Swatch Major Series event in Porec, Croatia.
Seeded 11th in the 24-team men’s qualifier, Rudol and Szalankiewicz opened play Tuesday at the third annual Porec Major with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) win in 34 minutes over 22nd-seeded Julian Azaad/Nicolas Capogrosso of Argentina before out-lasting sixth-seeded Grant O'Gorman/Michael Plantinga of Canada 2-1 (23-25, 21-15, 15-9) in 55 minutes.
The two wins earned the Polish pair their second advancement to a FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Main Draw with the first being in mid-February at the Swatch Major Series event in the United States at Fort Lauderdale.
Seven other beach volleyball pairs joined Rudol and Szalankiewicz in advancing to the men’s Main Draw, including only one of the top-eight-seeded teams in the qualifier - Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg of Brazil. Earning a spot in Tuesday’s schedule via a country quota win, Guto and Pedro advanced to Wednesday’s play with a 2-1 (22-20, 19-21, 15-12) win in 60 minutes over 16th-seeded Jefferson Santos Pereira/Cherif Younousse of Qatar.
Other teams posting victories to gain Main Draw berths were ninth-seeded Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen Germany, 10th-seeded Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann of Australia, 13th-seeded Mathias Berntsen/Anders Mol of Norway, 15th-seeded Armin Dollinger/Jonathan Erdmann of Germany and 19th-seeded Robin Seidl/Tobias Winter of Austria. Each pair had to win twice Tuesday to advance to Wednesday's competition.
Armin Dollinger (right) of Germany hits against American Ryan Doherty Tuesday during the Porec Major qualifier
Bockermann and Fluggen’s second-match Tuesday pitted the Germans against eighth-seeded Nivaldo Diaz/Sergio Gonzalez of Cuba in a confrontation of teams that participated in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Bockermann and Fluggen, who placed 19th on Copacabana at the Summer Games, posted a 2-1 (22-20, 24-26, 15-12) victory over the Cubans. With both teams entered in next month’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, the Cubans will be looking to better their fifth-place finish in Rio.